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UPDATE 1-China's Energy Monster shares jump nearly 18% in U.S. debut

(Adds IPO debut)

HONG KONG, April 1 (Reuters) - Shares of Alibaba-backed Energy Monster, China’s largest provider of mobile charging devices, jumped nearly 18% in their Nasdaq debut on Thursday after the company’s initial public offering (IPO) was priced below the indicated range.

The firm’s shares opened at $10 per American depositary share (ADS), higher than the IPO price of $8.50 per ADS.

The company, which filed its prospectus under the listing vehicle’s name of Smart Share Global, sold 17.65 million shares at $8.50 each to raise about $150 million.

Energy Monster’s weaker pricing comes just days after Chinese question and answer website Zhihu’s shares fell as much as 10.5% in their first session on Friday. The stock is off nearly 15% since its debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reuters revealed on Monday that Energy Monster was embroiled in an ownership dispute just as the U.S. IPO was underway.

Energy Monster had flagged its shares would be sold between $10.50 and $12.50 each.

However, volatile equities markets prompted the company to downgrade the price investors would pay for the shares.

There are also ongoing concerns over the future of Chinese companies listed in the United States following the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to press ahead with laws that would see international companies that do not meet U.S. auditing standards delisted.

Energy Monster had planned to sell 17.5 million shares which would have raised $183.75 million to $218.7 million at the indicative range.

Two Shanghai-based venture capitalists are pressing a case through both U.S. and Chinese courts against Energy Monster Chief Executive Officer Guangyuan Cai, claiming he reneged on a deal to give them a joint 3% stake in the business.

In its March 12 IPO application, Energy Monster said Cai was advised by his China litigation counsel that the plaintiffs’ claims “are baseless and frivolous”, and the CEO is “contesting the claims vigorously”. (Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton and Shinjini Ganguli)

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